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Not At My Table - Political Discussions => Local & State Politics => Topic started by: patric on November 20, 2014, 09:54:18 pm



Title: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on November 20, 2014, 09:54:18 pm
TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa city leaders are considering a technology upgrade for law enforcement that until recently they had thought was illegal in Oklahoma.
The city council was told for years that red-light cameras at intersections were illegal, but they recently found out that isn’t true.
“This law that we’ve always been hearing about that says we can’t have them doesn’t exist,” said city councilor G.T. Bynum.
Councilors are trying to find ways to improve public safety beyond hiring more officers.
The council plans to study what has happened in other cities with the cameras.
“Have they been easily abused by people in a position of power and if they have, how do you prevent that?” Bynum asked.
Another concern is that the cameras will be used as a way for the city to make money off of people who drive illegally.
“The reality is we’re looking at this because people die in car accidents because people run red lights,” Bynum said.

http://www.fox23.com/news/news/local/tulsa-city-leaders-consider-adding-red-light-camer/njCNP/



Hey Bynum, its still illegal, and dishonest.




AAA Withdraws Its Support For Traffic Cameras
    One of the foremost advocates of traffic safety has withdrawn support for the traffic camera enforcement program after city officials conceded revenue was a primary motivation.

http://www.rense.com/general30/with.htm





In roughly 24 cities in nine states, voters have passed ballot initiatives rejecting cameras, with decisions passing in eight of the cities last year alone. Also last year, the Los Angeles police commission voted to end the city's program.
In Houston, city officials denied that their support of cameras was motivated by money. Yet one state lawmaker from Houston admitted in a local radio interview that he voted for a bill authorizing the camera program at the behest of city officials and despite believing "it's really a revenue source."
A study by the consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG addressed the financial incentives behind camera programs. PIRG found that many contracts between local governments and camera companies require the parties to divide revenue from fines. Some contracts mandate the narrowest duration of yellow lights, preventing governments from lengthening the time — which could reduce the number of violators ticketed.
In addition, some groups that promote camera enforcement programs receive funding from the camera manufacturers. For instance, the National Coalition for Safer Roads draws some of its support from one of the nation's biggest vendors, Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, which had supplied Houston's cameras.

http://publicradiotulsa.org/post/whats-driving-backlash-against-traffic-cameras





Thousands of Chicago drivers have been tagged with $100 red light fines they did not deserve, targeted by robotic cameras during a series of sudden spikes in tickets that city officials say they cannot explain, a Tribune investigation has found.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-red-light-camera-ticket-spikes-met-20140717-story.html





Local and state governments across the country are tapping the brakes on red-light cameras.
Seven states currently ban them altogether, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and several more, including Ohio and Florida, are considering such prohibitions.
Studies of whether cameras, typically mounted on fixtures beside the road, improve traffic safety are numerous and often point to contradictory conclusions. But an increasing number of city and county officials are questioning their worth—and pulling the plug.
They cite the hassles of dealing with erroneous tickets and complaints from drivers, many of whom perceive the cameras as invasive.

Mostly, however, officials point to studies that claim the cameras do little to reduce accidents—and in some cases may increase them.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304071004579407413358714386





Since 1991, there have been a total of 35 election contests in Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Washington. With few exceptions, automated ticketing has failed by as much as 86 percent. One city did embrace the use of cameras after uniformed police officers were dispatched to go door-to-door to "encourage" citizens to keep the ticketing system in place.
http://www.citizenstoabolishredlightcameras.com/





Tickets issued due to red-light cameras are illegal, says Florida court
An appeals court decides that in Florida, private companies that operate red-light cameras have no right to send out tickets.
A human court, however, has decided that a current form of automated law enforcement is actually unenforceable, at least in Florida.
The judges mulled the fact that private owners of red-light cameras were the ones who sent out tickets. The Fourth District Court of Appeals said "The City is not authorized to delegate police power by entering into a contract that allows a private vendor to screen data and decide whether a violation has occurred before sending that data to a traffic infraction enforcement officer to use as the basis for authorizing a citation."

http://www.cnet.com/news/tickets-issued-due-to-red-light-cameras-are-illegal-says-florida-court/





The ACLU believes that the use of red light camera systems should be halted or delayed until the due process and privacy issues they raise have been properly settled.

There are two issues of fundamental fairness with the cameras that affect the right to due process under the law. First, the tickets are sent to the owner of a car, who was not necessarily the person committing the alleged violation. The burden of proof usually then falls on the owner to prove he or she was not driving at the time. This is a violation of the bedrock American principle that the accused be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Second, many red-light camera systems have been installed under contracts that deliver a cut of ticket revenue to the contractor. That creates an obvious incentive to contractors to "game" the system in order to increase revenue and in turn generates public cynicism and suspicion. Such bounty contracts make a mockery of the ideal of disinterested justice and undermine the pursuit of traffic safety.

https://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/aclu-urges-halt-use-red-light-cameras-until-privacy-and-fairness-issues-are-a




Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Breadburner on November 21, 2014, 08:14:34 am
Public safety's donkey.....It's a form of taxes....


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on November 21, 2014, 12:07:27 pm
Public safety's donkey.....It's a form of taxes....

Maybe he just wants outraged citizns to do his research for him.  Doesnt he have staff?


City issued speed camera ticket to motionless car
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/sun-investigates/bs-md-speed-camera-stopped-car-20121212-story.html

Camera contractor Xerox State and Local Solutions says each potential citation goes through two layers of review to weed out any that have a deficiency, such as an illegible license plate.

Then a police officer must review the citation before approving it for issuance to the vehicle owner. Each citation says the officer swears or affirms that the car was going at least 12 mph over the speed limit "based on inspection of the recorded images." The officer's signature is also printed.
The department has said that a single officer can review up to 1,200 citations in a given day.
Gov. Martin O'Malley said Tuesday that state law bars contractors from being paid based on the number of citations.


http://video.baltimoresun.com/?ndn.trackingGroup=91005&ndn.siteSection=baltimoresunstudio_hom_non_fro&ndn.videoId=23970982&freewheel=91005&sitesection=baltimoresunstudio_hom_non_fro&vid=23970982


My understanding is state statutes essentially say a car's driver can commit an offense, not the car, so you would actually have to ticket the driver.
Maybe that was stricken (or ignored) to allow the PikePass system?


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: dbacksfan 2.0 on November 22, 2014, 03:56:41 am
A funny story regarding photo radar on a freeway.....

http://www.caranddriver.com/news/the-147-mph-hyundai-sonata-car-news (http://www.caranddriver.com/news/the-147-mph-hyundai-sonata-car-news)

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/news/article_d1ef82fb-45b6-5556-986f-7a45c7b8f6b8.html?mode=jqm (http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/news/article_d1ef82fb-45b6-5556-986f-7a45c7b8f6b8.html?mode=jqm)



Living in Arizona red light and speed photo radar were are part of driving life. I got caught by a mobile photo radar doing 47 in a 35 in a well known trap zone. Could not argue the ticket as the photo clearly showed me uttering the word "FUDGE!". Spent $98.00 and 8 hours in a traffic school.

As for the effectiveness that I noted from information from the traffic department in the city I worked for as well as through the news, while red light cameras were effective at reducing T-Bone accidents in intersections, it seemed to increase the number of rear end collisions. It was more or less a trade off.

As for the speed cameras on the highways, those became more of a joke, because if the person driving the vehicle is not the registered owner, they could not enforce the fine. Too many people had cars that were registered as owned by one spouse but driven by the other. My former SIL that lives in Las Vegas got 3 photo radar tickets for a vehicle that was registered to her, but she was not the driver and did not have to identify who was driving.

The other issue they had, which resulted on a crack down by all of the surrounding cities was there was a mountain of tickets that were issued to police cars that were not officially responding to anything. Some of them were just transporting in custody people to the Maricopa County Jail and were routinely driving 15mph over the limit.

There was one case where a LEO was caught speeding through a red light camera that was crucial to a fatal accident investigation. (trying to find a cite for it) The officer was caught at 10+mph over the posted going through a red light before he hit a civilian and caused a fatal accident. The officer claimed he was running lights and siren, but the photo showed no emergency lights displayed.

The other thing I found from my own personal experience, is that the photo radar on the freeways, did nothing more than create accordion choke points where everyone suddenly slowed down, then speed back up, instead of maintaining a good flow. Maybe that's part of the reason they abandoned freeway photo radar.

Admittedly I am not a fan of photo enforcement, it just doesn't hold up to the promise they make.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: sgrizzle on November 22, 2014, 10:48:45 am

“This law that we’ve always been hearing about that says we can’t have them doesn’t exist,” said city councilor G.T. Bynum.



Hey Bynum, its still illegal, and dishonest.



Can you reconcile these two statements?


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Red Arrow on November 22, 2014, 11:34:36 am
I got caught by a mobile photo radar doing 47 in a 35 in a well known trap zone.

Just curious, why were you doing 47?


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: dbacksfan 2.0 on November 22, 2014, 12:02:08 pm
Just curious, why were you doing 47?

It was on a main north/south where the speed is 45mph, and as you go north, the road curves to the east and within a 1/4 mile stretch the speed goes from 45 to 35 as you round the corner. It was a notorious speed trap as people did not slow going around the curve. Just was going with the flow of traffic and had a momentary lapse of reason and got nailed, along with 6 other cars.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Townsend on November 22, 2014, 12:04:13 pm
Just curious, why were you doing 47?

(http://img.pandawhale.com/92131-I-feel-the-need-for-speed-gif-26ny.gif)


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: RecycleMichael on November 22, 2014, 12:24:36 pm
I was at the council committee meeting and listened to the discussion. I heard councilor Bynum and he didn't seem out of line asking questions about red light cameras. He didn't appear to be rabidly in favor of them, just wanted to inquire about a legal opinion.

Councilor Cue asked about facial recognition cameras and he said he didn't want to expand any request. He just wanted a legal opinion at this time. 


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on November 22, 2014, 12:43:30 pm
Can you reconcile these two statements?


Illegal because we cant endow corporations with police power simply because they are the chosen low bidder, nor can we sidestep the principle that the onus of proof lays on the accuser, not the accused.

Dishonest because we are dressing up taxation as public safety, when there is ample evidence that the stated goal of saving property and lives can be accomplished by measures as simple as signal light synchronization and proper lane markings.

The National Motorists Association urges communities to try its recommended "engineering solutions." If the alternatives don't reduce red-light violations by 50 percent, the motorists association has promised to give any community $10,000 for other traffic-safety programs.

http://www.motorists.org/red-light-cameras/alternatives


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Red Arrow on November 22, 2014, 04:12:17 pm
(http://img.pandawhale.com/92131-I-feel-the-need-for-speed-gif-26ny.gif)

An F14 is a bunch faster than any street legal car I know about.   ;D

I know the need for speed.  Just not in a known speed trap.   :(



Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Red Arrow on November 22, 2014, 04:20:02 pm
Just was going with the flow of traffic and had a momentary lapse of reason and got nailed, along with 6 other cars.

I hate it when that happens.  I was riding with some friends going home after one of the 1970s Gran Prix races at Watkins Glen, NY when the NY State Police pulled over about a half dozen cars. The police had a few cars and cops on the highway downstream from the radar car.  They were pointing to individual cars in person. 


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: dbacksfan 2.0 on November 22, 2014, 07:49:56 pm
I hate it when that happens.  I was riding with some friends going home after one of the 1970s Gran Prix races at Watkins Glen, NY when the NY State Police pulled over about a half dozen cars. The police had a few cars and cops on the highway downstream from the radar car.  They were pointing to individual cars in person.  

In 2005 the revamped the area and changed the speed limit to 40mph but they still heavily photo radar that stretch. It's an odd area because it's where Phoenix, Snottsdale, and Paradise Valley all meet in one spot.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/4574+E+McDonald+Dr,+Paradise+Valley,+AZ+85253/@33.5237985,-111.9806465,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x872b0cea3fe1d0bb:0xbebe22778fdfb2c4?hl=en (https://www.google.com/maps/place/4574+E+McDonald+Dr,+Paradise+Valley,+AZ+85253/@33.5237985,-111.9806465,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x872b0cea3fe1d0bb:0xbebe22778fdfb2c4?hl=en)

(http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p309/kallsop2/Photoradar_zps80211dac.jpg)

Also, being a operator for Redflex is a deadly job when an unbalanced individual makes a statement about their feelings on photo radar.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/08/20/20100820man-sentenced-for-killing-speed-camera-operator.html (http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/08/20/20100820man-sentenced-for-killing-speed-camera-operator.html)



Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: dbacksfan 2.0 on November 22, 2014, 07:58:27 pm
(http://img.pandawhale.com/92131-I-feel-the-need-for-speed-gif-26ny.gif)

Naahh..... I'm more Elwood Blues.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTOg4aYGtdY[/youtube]


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Conan71 on November 24, 2014, 03:05:32 pm
In 2005 the revamped the area and changed the speed limit to 40mph but they still heavily photo radar that stretch. It's an odd area because it's where Phoenix, Snottsdale, and Paradise Valley all meet in one spot.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/4574+E+McDonald+Dr,+Paradise+Valley,+AZ+85253/@33.5237985,-111.9806465,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x872b0cea3fe1d0bb:0xbebe22778fdfb2c4?hl=en (https://www.google.com/maps/place/4574+E+McDonald+Dr,+Paradise+Valley,+AZ+85253/@33.5237985,-111.9806465,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x872b0cea3fe1d0bb:0xbebe22778fdfb2c4?hl=en)

(http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p309/kallsop2/Photoradar_zps80211dac.jpg)

Also, being a operator for Redflex is a deadly job when an unbalanced individual makes a statement about their feelings on photo radar.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/08/20/20100820man-sentenced-for-killing-speed-camera-operator.html (http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/08/20/20100820man-sentenced-for-killing-speed-camera-operator.html)



Only one I personally recall seeing in the greater Phoenix area was right near Roger Penske’s automotive complex.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: dbacksfan 2.0 on November 26, 2014, 02:58:39 am
Only one I personally recall seeing in the greater Phoenix area was right near Roger Penske’s automotive complex.

Yeah, Snottsdale has the largest number of photo radar for speed and red light cameras. Funny thing is, the Penske Complex is actually in Phoenix but is considered Scottsdale by zipcode. The area that all of those dealers sits on was originally a ranch for Arabian horses. As you drive north on Scottsdale Road from Frank Lloyd Wright, to the west is Phoenix, to the east is Scottsdale, and once you go past Loop 101 just north of that auto and shopping complex, the area northwest is still Maricopa County and state desert preserve. A lot of the area north west of there was sold at auction for huge amounts at auction between 1998 and 2006, and there was a planned shopping center with a roof that opens and upscale shopping including Tiffany and other exclusive stores, but it all failed and the land returned to the state when all of the land went into foreclosure after 2007 market crash.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on December 06, 2014, 11:35:42 am
I was at the council committee meeting and listened to the discussion. I heard councilor Bynum and he didn't seem out of line asking questions about red light cameras. He didn't appear to be rabidly in favor of them, just wanted to inquire about a legal opinion.

Councilor Cue asked about facial recognition cameras and he said he didn't want to expand any request. He just wanted a legal opinion at this time. 


From the resolution they passed, it looks like they have already made up their minds they want them, and are just seeking some legal stroking:

http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/griffin/NEWSon6/PDF/1412/20141204174413927.pdf

The "facts" in the resolution are the sort of misleading half-truths that might have been supplied by vendors who get a percentage of a city's take.
When you consider the number of cities who have already been down this road who just ended up trying to back out gracefully, there must be a mighty big carrot on a stick being dangled in front of the Council.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: sauerkraut on December 15, 2014, 01:14:49 pm
It's a failure in other cities, it's just a way to get more ticket money. Residents of Arlington Texas had to vote to get the red cameras removed from their city- dunno how the vote came out. The red light cameras are also bad news in Columbus, Ohio where I used to live. They serve no purpose.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on December 15, 2014, 01:41:41 pm
In most cities our size or larger, this has already come and gone.

Likely what were seeing is one of the vendors dangling the promise of easy cash in front of the council, hoping they wont pay attention to the man behind the curtain.


Title: Re:
Post by: Ed W on December 15, 2014, 04:38:04 pm
I'm all for it or anything that makes driving more onerous than it already is. Motorists should be required to push their vehicles across intersections too, for the sake of safety. Do it for the children.

It's all part of cyclist's nefarious plan to dominate the world! Bwahahaha!

Ed W


Title: Re:
Post by: Red Arrow on December 15, 2014, 04:47:15 pm
I'm all for it or anything that makes driving more onerous than it already is. Motorists should be required to push their vehicles across intersections too, for the sake of safety. Do it for the children.

It's all part of cyclist's nefarious plan to dominate the world! Bwahahaha!

Sounds similar to the early days of autos when they had to pull over and disassemble for the horses.  Or something like that.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on December 16, 2014, 01:57:37 pm
This is dated today:




New Jersey’s Red Light Camera Program is Going Dark
http://time.com/3636024/new-jersey-red-light-cameras-ending/

Over the last five years, red light cameras across New Jersey have caught drivers speeding through intersections, irking motorists who view them as cash cows for local government rather than true safety measures. But after Tuesday, New Jersey residents won’t have traffic cameras to kick around anymore.

The state’s red-light cameras will go dark at midnight, ending a program some said would reduce traffic accidents at intersections.

The program brought in millions of dollars to city and state governments, prompting many red light opponents to argue that the cameras are just moneymakers in the guise of a safety device.

City officials often argue that the cameras’ presence affects driver behavior. Union Township, for example, says 27,000 fewer drivers have run red lights in the 30 months it has used the cameras. Statewide, New Jersey Department of Transportation studies claim that crashes overall are down. The DOT numbers have been championed by public officials like Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who has pushed for legislators to continue the pilot program.

But a couple of grassroots engineers have challenged those stats. Rick Short and George Ford produced a report detailing discrepancies between the red light camera safety claims and raw DOT crash data. “We have proved that the crash reduction percentages spread by the camera industry and town leaders are fictitious,” they said.

Polls show that the cameras have have slowly lost favor over the years, mirroring what’s happening in a number of states around the country. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 495 communities currently use the cameras down from a peak of 540 in 2012.




NJ's Troubled Red Light Camera Program Ends Tonight
December 16, 2014 12:44pm EST
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2473730,00.asp

The program, which kicked off in 2009, had its difficulties, from technical problems to a federal lawsuit, the AP reported, but detractors no longer have to worry about having their photo snapped while speeding through intersections.
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20141216_ap_6c5d7dc877d841bc9f4d6dabef4fc892.html?c=r
The end of the New Jersey program comes about two months after a Florida court found that tickets issued via red light cameras were illegal.  http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article3423438.html




As red-light cameras go dark, was it a boon for safety or a bust?
http://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/2014/12/as_red_light_cameras_go_dark_was_it_a_boon_for_saf.html

"The primary problem is that the cameras do not reduce the numbers of crashes," said Rick Short, who joined with engineer George Ford to compare red light camera safety claims to raw DOT crash data. "We have proved that the crash reduction percentages spread by the camera industry and town leaders are fictitious."
Opponents expressed outrage that right turn on red violations were included among the more serious red light running tickets to inflate statistics. They also pointed to an increase in rear end accidents at camera intersections from drivers who feared a ticket and stopped short.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on December 22, 2014, 02:34:47 pm
Chicago's new study is out:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/major-chicago-study-finds-red-light-cameras-not-safer-cause-more-rear-end-injuries/
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/redlight/ct-red-light-camera-safety-met-20141219-story.html



Chicago's red light cameras fail to deliver the dramatic safety benefits long claimed by City Hall, according to a first-ever scientific study that found the nation's largest camera program is responsible for increasing some types of injury crashes while decreasing others.

The state-of-the-art study commissioned by the Tribune concluded the cameras do not reduce injury-related crashes overall — undercutting Mayor Rahm Emanuel's primary defense of a program beset by mismanagement, malfunction and a $2 million bribery scandal.

Emanuel has credited the cameras for a 47 percent reduction in dangerous right-angle, or "T-bone" crashes. But the Tribune study, which accounted for declining accident rates in recent years as well as other confounding factors, found cameras reduced right-angle crashes that caused injuries by just 15 percent.

At the same time, the study calculated a corresponding 22 percent increase in rear-end crashes that caused injuries, illustrating a trade-off between the cameras' costs and benefits.

The researchers also determined there is no safety benefit from cameras installed at intersections where there have been few crashes with injuries. Such accidents actually increased at those intersections after cameras went in, the study found, though the small number of crashes makes it difficult to determine whether the cameras were to blame.

The finding raises questions about why the city installed cameras in so many places where injury-causing crashes were rare — nearly 40 percent of the 190 intersections that had cameras through 2012, the Tribune found.

"The biggest takeaway is that overall (the program) seems to have had little effect," said Dominique Lord, an associate professor at Texas A&M University's Zachry Department of Civil Engineering who led the Tribune's study.

"So the question now is: If we eliminate a certain type of collision and increase the other and overall it stays the same, is there an argument that it is fair to go with the program?" Lord said. "That is a question that I cannot answer.

"Just the elected officials can answer for that."

Emanuel declined interview requests. His top transportation experts acknowledged flaws in the city's statistics but said the Tribune study reinforces their own conclusion that cameras are helping.

Chicago Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said the city has never attempted a deep examination of the effectiveness of the largest automated enforcement program in the country, which has grown to more than 350 red light cameras and raised more than $500 million in $100 tickets since 2002. She said the Emanuel administration, now in its fourth year, is attempting to fix a long-standing lack of oversight.

"So certainly, the study presents an interesting argument, something that we will be considering moving forward," Scheinfeld said.

"But the fact is, the important thing I want to make sure that we get across here is that there are less deaths out there, there are less injuries out there and we are very encouraged by that."

Several national traffic experts consulted by the Tribune called the study a valid examination that largely mirrors the results of similar scientific efforts conducted around the country that found moderate decreases in T-bone crashes coupled with increases in rear-enders as drivers hit the brakes to avoid camera-generated tickets.

The study findings also dovetail with the Tribune's examination of how short yellow light times at Chicago's traffic signals raise the stakes for drivers.

Prompted by Tribune reporting, Emanuel officials recently admitted to the city inspector general that they had quietly dropped the threshold for what constitutes a red light camera ticket, allowing the tickets even when cameras showed a yellow light time just under the three-second federal minimum standard. That shift earlier this year snared 77,000 more drivers and $7.7 million in ticket revenue before the city agreed to change the threshold back.

Now the Tribune has learned that Chicago's long-standing reliance on using the lowest possible yellow light time under federal guidelines is out of step with other major cities in the country and a growing body of research that suggests short yellows and red light cameras are a dangerous combination.

"Of course that is going to lead to more accidents, especially rear-end accidents," said Timothy Gates, a Wayne State University associate engineering professor whose research is being used to set new nationwide guidelines calling for longer yellow lights.

As recently as October, transportation chief Scheinfeld appeared before a City Council hearing to defend the red light camera program armed with poster boards boasting a 47 percent reduction in right-angle crashes at camera-equipped intersections and a 22 percent drop in all types of injury crashes.

Those numbers are from a report on the city's website with a list of crash statistics at each of the red light camera intersections from 2005 and from 2012.

"Since being launched more than a decade ago, the red light camera program has been a critical part of our efforts to improve the safety of our streets," Scheinfeld told the assembled aldermen. "The most recent crash statistics available from the state show that at intersections with red light cameras, the number of dangerous T-bone, angle crashes decreased by 47 percent between 2005 and 2012."

Given those numbers, the effectiveness of red light cameras would be difficult to dispute. But a half-dozen traffic engineering experts interviewed by the Tribune all agree that simple before-and-after comparison is not an effective measure. It doesn't account for changes in traffic flow because of the economic recession, or the improved safety of automobiles or any number of factors that have brought down crash numbers throughout the nation.

And most important, experts say, it doesn't account for any significant changes in the way accidents are reported to state transportation officials.

For instance, in 2009 the Illinois Department of Transportation changed the threshold for reporting property damage accidents to $1,500 in damage from $500, a rule change that prompted accident reports statewide to plummet by nearly 30 percent. That change alone renders the city's safety claims invalid, experts say.

"The city's study is worthless, making no adjustments for any potential bias," said Joseph Hummer, professor and chairman of civil and environmental engineering at Wayne State in Detroit. He also noted that, for some sites, the city used 2005 data in the "before" section of its analysis even though the cameras had been installed there in 2003 and 2004.

Scheinfeld said in an interview last week that the city's safety claims are based on "more basic," nonscientific comparisons of crash statistics. She said the state transportation department statistics are "still the best information that we have, and we acknowledge they have made that change in their reporting methodology, and it would have some impact on those numbers, but we don't know exactly what impact."

Scheinfeld said she was aware of the flaw in the data when she presented the city's safety claims to aldermen. The 47 percent figure was still posted on the city's red light camera Web page at publication time for this report, but after talking to the Tribune, officials added a disclaimer about the change in IDOT accident reporting.

But she disputed the notion the city has used inflated statistics to mislead the public about the unpopular program.
 
"We weren't saying that those reductions are all attributable directly to, or only to, the installation of red light cameras," Scheinfeld said. "What we are saying is that we are seeing these trends which are very encouraging at those locations where we have red light cameras."

Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, chairman of the council Transportation Committee, said the city's numbers come as no surprise: "Those numbers the city uses have never made any sense. Of course they are skewing the numbers."

"That program needs to be stopped. It needs to be frozen to give us time to re-evaluate everything," Beale said. "This is just more proof that this entire program is strictly to generate revenue and always has been."



In an effort to assess the program's effects more realistically, the Tribune collaborated with Lord and another well-known researcher from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Srinivas Geedipally, to conduct an analysis using the latest scientific tools.

The $14,000 study used data gathered by the Tribune under the guidance of traffic safety experts around the country. The Tribune's work was also approved by Lord and Geedipally, who have published dozens of analytical papers on traffic safety, including red light camera systems, and worked as consultants to state and federal government.

The Chicago study by Lord and Geedipally acknowledges that the number of injury-causing accidents decreased at intersections after red light cameras were added, but it also notes that this simple comparison fails to account for other factors that affect a region's crash rates, such as changing economic conditions.

To determine the impact of red light cameras specifically, the researchers used a statistical technique called the empirical Bayes method that is commonly employed to evaluate traffic safety interventions. By analyzing data from intersections without red light cameras, they could predict how many crashes would have occurred at camera intersections if the equipment had not been installed.

The study included 90 of the 190 intersections in Chicago where cameras were operating during the study period. All 90 used in the study were four-leg intersections where cameras came online between 2008 and 2009. The Tribune also collected detailed Illinois crash data at each intersection for three years before and three years after the cameras were installed, as well as similar information for a control group of 59 intersections never equipped with cameras.

Lord and Geedipally used that data to conduct their analysis, the largest such study conducted on a single red light camera program in the United States.

The study results showed red light cameras are responsible for "a non-significant increase of 5 percent in the total number of injury crashes, a statistically significant reduction of 15 percent in angle and turning injury crashes, and a statistically significant increase of 22 percent in rear-end injury collisions," the authors wrote.

In raw numbers at the 90 intersections included in the study, the researchers concluded the cameras prevented as many as 76 right-angle crashes and caused about 54 more rear-end injury crashes. The study said that without the red light cameras about 501 angle crashes would have occurred and only 425 were reported. It also said that there were 296 rear-end injury crashes, and there would have been only 242 had the cameras never been installed.

There were 1,064 crashes reported in the three years after the 90 intersections were "treated" with red light cameras, the study noted.

"The analysis results show that if the treatment had not been used, the expected number of the crashes would have been 1,016 crashes," the study said. "In other words, it is estimated that RLCs (red light cameras) increased the crashes by 5 percent."

Because that 5 percent increase was considered within the study's margin of error, Lord and Geedipally said the increase might have happened just by chance.

The Tribune study did not address the cameras' impact on fender benders where no injuries were reported.

The researchers said similar crash patterns were also found at the control intersections that had no cameras, suggesting drivers fearing a $100 fine may be changing their behavior at intersections throughout the city. They said more research would be needed to say definitively whether such a "spillover effect" exists.

"It may be possible that drivers changed the manner they approach and travel through all the signalized intersections located within the City of Chicago," the study says, adding that science on the theory of spillover effects is inconclusive.

The results of the Tribune study closely track those of a 2005 analysis of red light cameras commissioned by the Federal Highway Administration that used identical scientific methods to analyze 132 intersections in seven cities throughout the country. That study found a 16 percent decrease in right-angle injury crashes and a corresponding 24 percent increase in rear-end injury crashes.

The federal study went even further and assigned dollar damage estimates to the various kinds of crashes to conduct a cost-benefit analysis between rear-enders and the typically more dangerous T-bone crashes.

"The economic analysis examined the extent to which the increase in rear-end crashes negates the benefits for decreased right-angle crashes," the 2005 study concluded. "There was indeed a modest aggregate crash cost benefit of RLC systems."

The Tribune researchers also suggested that Chicago could reap much better results if it shut down about 40 percent of its cameras, located in about 75 intersections throughout the city where crash rates were lower to begin with. Of those intersections, cameras were removed from eight before the completion of the Tribune study.

"When intersections experiencing fewer than 4 injury crashes per year are considered, there is a significant increase in all crashes by 19 percent after the installation of RLCs," the study found.

"They are not doing what you would expect," Geedipally said. "You can make an argument based on those two numbers, over four (injury crashes) you see a benefit but less than four you don't see that benefit. So is it worth putting the cameras at those locations?

That's a question you may want to ask the mayor."


Other experts said the Tribune findings make it clear that nothing less than a complete re-examination of the city's program can solve the problems.

"My feeling is that they should conduct a re-evaluation of every intersection where a camera is installed and look at the crash numbers for each of them," said Raghavan Srinivasan, a senior transportation research engineer at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. "All the research shows that the higher the rate of right-angle crashes to begin with, the more benefit the cameras provide."

Scheinfeld and her deputies said the city will use the study in its annual assessment of the camera program.

"You have offered a different perspective, a different method, a different data set looking at slightly different crashes," said David Zavattero, the city's deputy transportation director. "I think we are going to take that very seriously and look at some of those same questions."

The findings are the latest in a series of Tribune investigations beginning in 2012 that have exposed corruption, failed oversight and unfair enforcement in Chicago's program, once held out as a model for automated traffic enforcement.

In the wake of Tribune revelations, the city's contractor was fired, that company's top executives were ousted and federal prosecutors charged a former City Hall manager with taking up to $2 million in bribes from the former CEO of the company, Redflex Traffic Systems, to build its Chicago business into the largest automated traffic enforcement program in the country.


Last week, a former Redflex consultant pleaded guilty to funneling bribes to that manager, John Bills, as part of an alleged scheme that earned the men at least $1,500 for every new red light camera installed in the city.

While the corruption largely dates to the administration of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Emanuel has defended the red light program as a much-needed safety measure and used it to justify his launch of speed cameras.

Following a series of Tribune stories this past summer that documented how thousands of drivers were tagged during unexplained ticket surges at malfunctioning red light cameras, the city inspector general reported that both the Daley and Emanuel administrations could not document how and where they chose to place cameras, abdicated their responsibility to ensure the camera system was working properly and instead focused on keeping the cameras rolling.

In response, Emanuel promised to improve oversight, played down the significance of the findings and sought to refocus public attention on safety benefits.

"The red light camera operates here like it operates in other cities," Emanuel said in July. "And it has reduced accidents, and dangerous accidents, which are the sideswipes that happen. So it has worked on the safety side, but to be an operative system, it must have the public trust."


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on December 28, 2014, 02:31:17 pm
Voters ban red light cameras; city councils sue voters to bring them back

In November, voters in St. Charles County, Missouri, banned red light cameras with a 73 percent majority — but city council members of several towns within the county are now suing to bring them back. "They're suing their own residents," said St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil, who supports the ban.

St. Peters, MO once hosted the nation’s first ever corruption trial over red light cameras, as former St. Peters Mayor Shawn Brown was convicted of taking a bribe from the company Redflex Traffic Systems in exchange for his support for a measure installing the company’s cameras city-wide. According to St. Louis Public Radio, Brown was sentenced in 2007 to an 18-month stint in federal prison over the scandal.


http://benswann.com/mo-cities-sue-in-effort-to-overturn-voter-approved-ban-on-red-light-cameras/



Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: cannon_fodder on January 06, 2015, 01:36:30 pm
Well argued Patric.

Has anyone installed red light cameras and 1) found them to increase public safety, 2) found them to be a legal exercise of corporate/police power, or 3) found them to be supported by the community?

I'm in favor of more red light enforcement and more traffic enforcement in general. I understand why police don't want to do that - but dangerous drivers not only cause property damage and injury, they also cause a lot of frustration and anger. But I'm not in favor of a profit grab under the guise of "safety" when it has already been so readily exposed everywhere else.

Why are we always a decade behind and STILL willing to adopt failed policies? I thought the advantage of always being behind the times was that we could see what works and adopt that?


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Vashta Nerada on January 29, 2015, 07:15:35 pm

Why are we always a decade behind and STILL willing to adopt failed policies? I thought the advantage of always being behind the times was that we could see what works and adopt that?




The scheme was apparently a move by the council's Public Safety Task Force to fund itself.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/tulsa-can-t-use-cameras-to-issue-tickets-to-red/article_26c85e37-ef1d-525a-af3f-be86080cb542.html


Title: Re: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Ed W on January 29, 2015, 09:17:58 pm
Well argued Patric.

Has anyone installed red light cameras and 1) found them to increase public safety, 2) found them to be a legal exercise of corporate/police power, or 3) found them to be supported by the community?

I'm in favor of more red light enforcement and more traffic enforcement in general. I understand why police don't want to do that - but dangerous drivers not only cause property damage and injury, they also cause a lot of frustration and anger. But I'm not in favor of a profit grab under the guise of "safety" when it has already been so readily exposed everywhere else.

Why are we always a decade behind and STILL willing to adopt failed policies? I thought the advantage of always being behind the times was that we could see what works and adopt that?
I've made the same argument about so-called bicycle facilities, thinking we could learn from other's mistakes, yet our local bicycle advocates seem hell-bent on repeating them.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on June 19, 2015, 05:08:39 pm
CINCINNATI — The former head of Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. — already embroiled in an alleged $2 million bribery scheme that ended the company's red light camera contract in Chicago — pleaded guilty Friday in a federal bribery probe in Ohio.

Finley admitted that she participated in a scheme in which the company made campaign contributions to elected public officials in Columbus and Cincinnati in return for keeping red-light camera contracts. No charges have been filed against the public officials, and none were named by prosecutors.

Elected officials in Cincinnati and Columbus solicited campaign contributions from Redflex through a political consultant who acted as a go-between with Finley, who "agreed to provide campaign contributions to these elected public officials in return for the elected public officials agreeing to take, and actually taking, officials acts on behalf" of Redflex, according to the plea.

One Redflex executive, Aaron Rosenberg, has alleged in court filings that the behavior that led to charges in Chicago and Ohio pervaded the company in camera programs throughout the nation.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-red-light-bribe-plea-ohio-20150619-story.html
http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2015/06/19/local-pols-part-bribery-scheme/28989963/





Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: cannon_fodder on June 22, 2015, 07:10:19 am
That's backwards... I care much less about a corrupt businessman trying to make money than I do a corrupt politician selling the public's trust. Much rather see the politicians go down, if one can't have both.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on November 08, 2015, 12:36:33 pm
That's backwards... I care much less about a corrupt businessman trying to make money than I do a corrupt politician selling the public's trust. Much rather see the politicians go down, if one can't have both.

Glad we didnt open this can of worms:

http://www.startribune.com/ohio-traffic-camera-law-takes-enforcement-to-busy-freeways/343085392/

It sounds like they became too dependent on ill-gotten revenue.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on June 24, 2016, 01:55:01 pm

Texas judge accused of hatching secret deal with red light camera company
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/06/21/texas-judge-accused-hatching-secret-deal-with-red-light-camera-company.html



Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: sauerkraut on July 24, 2016, 01:55:30 pm
Red light cameras and speed cameras are a scam, and in many places where they are installed accidents increase. It's not really about safety it's about money.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Vashta Nerada on December 13, 2016, 06:41:42 pm
Red light cameras and speed cameras are a scam, and in many places where they are installed accidents increase. It's not really about safety it's about money.


Here we go again.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Red Arrow on December 13, 2016, 06:48:06 pm
Here we go again.

You are quoting something from nearly 5 months ago. 


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Vashta Nerada on December 13, 2016, 10:48:27 pm
You are quoting something from nearly 5 months ago. 


Fox23 says its on tomorrow's Council agenda.



Meanwhile two years ago:


Oklahoma law does not allow for the use of cameras to electronically issue traffic tickets to red-light runners, Tulsa’s city prosecutor told city councilors Thursday.
“In a nutshell, without additional legislation, at least on the civil side, we’re not going to be able to do that,” Bob Garner said.
Councilor G.T. Bynum had asked Garner to provide a legal opinion as to whether the city could use cameras to enforce traffic violations.
Garner said cities’ traffic ordinances must conform to state law and that under Oklahoma law, running a red light is a criminal misdemeanor that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/cameras-aren-t-easy-fix-for-red-light-runners-tulsa/article_26c85e37-ef1d-525a-af3f-be86080cb542.html


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Red Arrow on December 14, 2016, 12:09:23 am
Fox23 says its on tomorrow's Council agenda.

You might have mentioned that.



Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: RecycleMichael on December 14, 2016, 08:14:13 am
Maybe the red lights are for Christmas


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: cannon_fodder on December 14, 2016, 08:34:55 am
The only thing that has changed is that more scandals have erupted around red light cameras, more high profile cities have had to abandon them, and more studies have concluded they don't make anyone safer.  $o why would we recon$ider the i$$ue?


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: patric on December 14, 2016, 12:27:07 pm
The only thing that has changed is that more scandals have erupted around red light cameras, more high profile cities have had to abandon them, and more studies have concluded they don't make anyone safer.  $o why would we recon$ider the i$$ue?

We are very behind the curve, but I suspect Tulsa leaders will float that balloon until someone gives them the response they want.

I didnt see it on the published agenda.


Title: Re: City Councilor Wants Red Light Cameras -- again.
Post by: Vashta Nerada on December 17, 2016, 08:27:28 pm
You might have mentioned that.


Yes, you are right.
And I noticed the story vanished after airing all day Monday.  TV reporters have a bad habit of just taking handouts and running with it.